Popular animated series The Simpsons will no longer use white actors for the voices of characters from other ethnic backgrounds.
For years, The Simpsons have been the subject of criticism for the portrayal of the Indian-American convenience store owner Apu Nahasapeemapetilon voiced by white actor Hank Azaria. Azaria announced earlier this year that he would be stepping down from the role.
“Moving forward, The Simpsons will no longer have white actors voice non-white characters,” producers said in a statement.
Family Guy star Mike Henry is also exiting his role as Cleveland Brown on the show. Henry made the announcement Friday on Twitter.
Mike tweeted, “It’s been an honour to play Cleveland on Family Guy for 20 years. I love this character, but persons of colour should play characters of colour. Therefore, I will be stepping down from the role.”
On Wednesday, Jenny Slate announced that she will no longer be playing the biracial character Missy on the popular Netflix show Big Mouth. Not long after that, Kristen Bell revealed that she will step down from her role as a biracial character in the forthcoming animated series Central Park by Apple.
The move comes after pressure on the entertainment industry to create more opportunities for non-white actors in the wake of ongoing Black Lives Matter protests.